In praise of older women

Sweet and sour

This is the title of the autobiography of Hungarian writer Stephen Vicinczey, now a professor in a Canadian University. The amazing thing about him is that he hardly knew 50 words of English when he went to Canada and published his first novel at his own expense — and it became his international best-seller. It has been translated in all the major world languages. I saw it advertised in a London journal as a master-piece of erotica.

Being a man with a dirty mind, I did my best to get hold of it. A friend sent me a photo-copy. It has just been published by Penguin Viking (India). The cover has a middle-aged women displaying her shapely bosom.

It is as bizarre a story as I have ever read. It is based on Hungary in the last year of World War II. Stalin’s red Army is closing in on Hungary; Hitler’s storm troopers fighting a losing battle in Austria. American GIs, who take over Austria have a language problem communicating with the locals and with their libidos.

Stephen Vicinczey who is five-year-old and can speak both Hungarian and English gets a part-time job as a kitchen boy in an American army mess. He intended to take vows of celibacy and become a monk; he becomes a pimp, arranging rates between American officers, GIs and Hungarian women who have been reduced to poverty and can’t even afford two square meals a day for their families, prostitute themselves for milk powder, tinned eggs, cans of soup and cartons of cigarettes. He has plenty of opportunities of seeing what the barter is about. With his accumulated dollar salary he is able to buy a flat for his widowed mother and return to school.

Under the spartan rule of the Soviets there are few places left for Hungarians to have fun. One of them is an old Turkish bath house where women get into bikinis and men in shorts. They make dates and have lots of sex. It would appear that Hungarians — men and women — married or single gather and make love with two or three lovers at the same time.

Then Stephen with a party of anti-Communists escapes from Hungary and they are given asylum in countries of their choice. Stephen opts for Italy, gets a job in a college and a woman escort older than him. He discovers that older women, particularly those married and with children make better lovers than the young and inexperienced. It is the same in Canada where he now lives.

I like reading and writing erotica. I was eager to see if Stephen had done better than I have in my novel ‘Sunset Club’ to be published by Penguin Viking in a couple of months. I don’t think so.

Coorg saga
Sartia is a Coorg. For some reason she resents being called Coorgi. They are a people apart from other south Indians. They are light-skinned ie Sarita could well be Kashmiri. They are from a handsome race with grey eyes. They have martial tradition: two of our chiefs-of-staff were from Coorg: the first was General Cariappa, the second General Thimmayya. Sarita’s father was a Colonel of a Gorkha regiment and after retiring he was posted deputy military secretary to the President. Sarita spent many years in Delhi and speaks Hindi fluently. Both her parents are back home in Coorg.

Sarita married a fellow Coorg Mandanna. She did an MBA from Bangalore and after marrying Mandanna, who is an architect, another MBA from Wharton Business School in the United States. Then he was posted to Canada and set up their home in Toronto. The couple befriended David Davidar and his wife Rachna. Sarita showed some of her writing to David who was head of Penguin Viking. He was impressed and suggested she write a novel about Coorg. She got down to it at a frantic pace working about round the clock with a three to four hours of sleep. It took her five years to finish her first novel ‘Tiger Hills’ (Penguin Viking). It was an imminent success. She paints the beautiful landscape of Coorg with its undulating hills and coffee plantations with aroma of coffee in flower and weaves a beautiful tale on 1878 romance blissful prose. But for a few errors in describing the flora and fauna of the region she makes compelling reading.

Saas versus bahu
A young Indian excitedly tells his mother he’s fallen in love and is going to get married. He says, “Just for fun, Ma, I’m going to bring over three girls and you guess which one I’m going to marry.” The mother agrees.

The next day, he brings three beautiful girls and sits them down on the couch, and after a while he asks “Ma, guess which one I’m going to marry.”
She immediately replies: “The one on the right.”
“That is amazing. How did you know?”
Mother replies, “I don’t like her.”

(Contributed by Vipin Buckshey, Delhi)

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